Comparisons of Latinos, African Americans, and Caucasians with multiple sclerosis

Ethn Dis. 2010 Autumn;20(4):451-7.

Abstract

Objective: Identify racial/ethnic differences among people with multiple sclerosis (MS) in demographics, MS disease characteristics, and health services received.

Participants: We analyzed enrollment data from the Registry of the North American Research Committee on Multiple Sclerosis (NARCOMS) Project to compare 26,967 Caucasians, 715 Latinos, and 1,313 African Americans with MS.

Design: Racial/ethnic analyses of NARCOMS data focused on descriptive characteristics, using ANOVA and chi-square tests to identify significant differences in means and frequencies among Caucasians, Latinos, and African Americans.

Results: We identified significant racial/ethnic differences in demographics, MS disease characteristics, and treatments. Caucasians were older when first MS symptoms were experienced (30.1 years) and at MS diagnosis (37.4 years) than Latinos (28.6 years and 34.5 years) or African Americans (29.8 years and 35.8 years). Larger proportions of Latinos reported normal function for mobility and bladder/bowel function compared to Caucasians. Larger proportions of Latinos (44.2 percent) and African Americans (45.8 percent) reported at least mild depression compared to only 38.7 percent of Caucasians. Larger proportions of Latinos never received mental health care or care from rehabilitation specialists than Caucasians or African Americans. A larger proportion of African Americans had never been treated by a neurologist specializing in MS and a smaller proportion of African Americans received care at a MS clinic than Caucasians or Latinos.

Conclusions: Our findings highlight the need for future analyses to determine if age, disease duration, MS symptoms, and disability levels provide additional insights into racial/ethic differences in the use of MS-related providers.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • African Americans / statistics & numerical data*
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Disabled Persons / statistics & numerical data
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Health Services / statistics & numerical data
  • Hispanic or Latino / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Multiple Sclerosis / ethnology*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Registries
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Whites / statistics & numerical data*